I got a reminder this morning that Bishop Desmond Tutu, the South African Nobel Peace Prize winner will speak (for free) at the university tonight. His topic: "No Future Without Forgiveness." Now, I'm sure that there's probably a way to spin that ball to include how European-Americans will need to "forgive" people of color for reminding them of how brutal and unapologetic they and their culture has been historically and today--or something.
And I know that the cold fact is that no matter how pain-wracked one's past may be, one must at some point find a way to release the rage or one cannot move on, whether the tormentor ever gets it or not. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But I can't help but wonder how come we can afford to bring someone of the good Bishop's magnitude to deliver his message, but we wouldn't see, say, Andrew Sung Park, the Korean who wrote The Wounded Heart of God: The Asian Concept of Han and The Christian Doctrine of Sin. Sung suggests (quite eloquently) that there can be no complete healing on either side until the one that did the damage not only admits it and apologizes and ceases the "sin", but--oh-my-gosh!--does some things to make up for the wrongs they committed.
But then, I don't guess too many would show up to hear what Sung had to say, huh? So we shell out the money and bring Desmond Tutu and tell ourselves we're doing something about oppression against people of color (I mean, he's Black, for goodness' sake--doesn't that prove something?!) And we keep that focus on what African-Americans must do to make things better--just like we always have. Even back when it was Mammy comforting the Missus or little slave whipping boys giving Massuh a way to deal with his uncomfortable feelings. Why am I not surprised?